George Rodriguez Interview June 2020
Sculptor George Rodriguez addresses sensitive sociopolitical issues through his work, drawing from themes of culture and identity, community, and our shared commonalities. His figurative sculptures portray characters of immutable inner strength, grace and dignity. Their highly ornamented forms are rooted in Rodriguez’s study of traditional temple guardian figures from around the world, celebrating the individual against the backdrop of community, the modern world against the backdrop of the ancient. His figures are everyday superheroes; through them Rodriguez asks us to elevate our social consciousness with empathy and inclusion. Says Rodriguez, “Through the narratives I choose, I bring whimsical, serious and approachable aspects into my work. I realize that even when the content is heavy it can still be made accessible.”
Rodriguez is a graduate of the University of Washington’s MFA program for ceramics, and he holds a BFA from the University of Texas, El Paso. He was the featured artist for Foster/White Gallery at the Seattle Art Fair in 2018, where he presented his first Mexican Zodiac series. An iteration of this series was also featured at Museum of Northwest Art in fall of 2018, honoring him as the recipient of the Museum of Northwest Art's Luminaries’ Patti Warashina Award for Emerging Artists. His solo exhibition, Guardians, ran at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in the spring of 2018. His work has been acquired by the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, and is part of many prestigious public and private collections around the country. Rodriguez continues to draw on his travels to 26 countries, on three continents, backed by the Bonderman Travel Fellowship, which he was awarded in 2010. Expanding on his studies of global culture and ceremony, Rodriguez seeks to bridge his Chicano heritage with Thai, Peruvian, Bolivian, Mongolian, Egyptian, Taiwanese, and Indonesian civilization and mythology.
At the 2018 Seattle Art Fair, George’s exhibition further explores themes of protection, inclusion and sanctity using the Chinese Zodiac as framework. Distilling traits of individual family and friends, George renders animal portraits distinctly related to their corresponding humans while simultaneously presenting as one community. Pairing his characteristic playful grace with the regal quality of Ai WeiWei’s Circle of Animals, George’s sculptures extend the same reverence embodied in traditional guardian statuary to his own people.
A graduate of the University of Washington’s MFA program, George is deeply involved with Seattle’s art world. He is the 2016 recipient of the Museum of Northwest Art's Luminaries’ Patti Warashina Award for Emerging Artists and was featured in a solo show at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in 2018. In December 2020, Craft in America will present an episode featuring Rodriguez's practice. His work has been acquired by Chicago’s National Mexican Museum of Art and this winter, exhibited in a solo show titled 'Where is Our Exile?' at the University of Texas El Paso. George continues to draw on his travels to 26 countries on three continents backed by the Bonderman Travel Fellowship, which he was awarded in 2010. Expanding on his studies of global culture and ceremony, George seeks to bridge his Chicano heritage with Thai, Peruvian, Bolivian, Mongolian, Egyptian, Taiwanese, and Indonesian civilization and mythology.
Foster/White Interview with George.
Listen to an interview with George by Corazón Arte Cultura
George on Crosscut.
Video by Aileen Imperial and Jaycie Osterberg
Interview by Enrique Pérez de la Rosa
King 5 Feature Interview with George.